HP to Make More TouchPads, Seriously

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If you were hoping to be able to get a hold of a discontinued device that was considered outdated and buggy when it was first released and is powered by an operating system that may or may not be mothballed, we have some good news for you: HP is planning on making more TouchPads. That’s right, the company announced Tuesday that it will make more of the webOS devices it had to sell for less than half of what it cost to make.

Just Kidding!

“I finally have some solid news to share about TouchPad availability,” Mark Budgell, a Social Media Strategist on the HP PR team, wrote to whomever it is that actually cares. “Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand.”

Mr. Budgell thanked HP’s customers for their interest in the money-gobbling TouchPad, adding, “Since we announced the price drop, the number of inquiries about the product and the speed at which it disappeared from inventory has been stunning. I think it’s safe to say we were pleasantly surprised by the response.”

HP announced on August 18th that it was killing its webOS hardware business, a category that included the TouchPad tablet, as well as smartphones that were a continuation of Palm’s webOS smartphone business. The company also announced that it was looking for ways to leverage webOS (i.e. sell it or license it), but was shelving all product plans for the nonce.

At the time, the company had said it would be taking back its supply of TouchPads that had sat on store shelves for weeks with little and less customer interest. Best Buy, for instance, was reportedly demanding that HP do just that. On August 19th, however, HP decided to reduce the price of the TouchPad and sell the remaining inventory for US$99, less than half of the cost to make the device.

The result was that they flew off store shelves. Customers queued up to buy them at Best Buy, and HP’s online store was besieged with orders.

It would seem that the brilliant move of making more of the money-losing devices stems in part from upstream component suppliers being a tad tense about being stuck with all manner of inventory on unmade devices. DigiTimes reported that many of those suppliers were up in arms and looking to HP for a solution.

Rather than get zero dollars for a bunch of unused parts, it makes more sense to get some dollars for them in the form of completed TouchPads being sold, even at a loss.

HP has included a FAQ on the blog post making the announcement, if you count yourself among those who care.

While the decision to make more devices seems firmly rooted in a pragmatic solution for dealing with un-met component contracts, we found Brian Lam’s assessment of the situation to be hilarious enough to share it with you. He tweeted, “If HP revives the TouchPad because of sales at $99, they are mistaking break up sex for a proposal.”

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10 Comments Leave Your Own

vanax

I’d buy one for a dollar as a historical momento.

Lee Dronick

Will they sell them from the back of a white Impala?

jfbiii

I hear Nicholas Negroponte is negotiating to buy webOS for his new OTPPC organization.

aardman

They must have severely overestimated demand if it’s much cheaper to sell it at fire sale prices than to pay cancellation penalties to their component suppliers.

dhp

Sure, they’ll lose money per unit, but they’ll make it up in quantity. wink

skipaq

Yes! Market Share is way better than making a profit. They should keep making them and sell them for $19.99. Then they could claim to own the market. lol

wab95

Oh, hurrah!

To loss, we now join confusion.

It would seem that the brilliant move of making more of the money-losing devices stems in part from upstream component suppliers being a tad tense about being stuck with all manner of inventory on unmade devices.

Actually, this is the reason I too believe that this little sprig of good cheer was announced. Execution delayed on account of inconvenience.

I must admit, I am curious to see what HP will do if these too sell apace.

jim_boston

Here’s my experience with the Touchpad. I purchsed the 32Gb model from bestbuy.com during the big firesale last weekend, and have been using the device for about 1 week.

I can only say that the Touchpad is great.  WebOS is very intuitive, simple…little or no learning curve is required.  The Touchpad is very solidly constructed, not as much bling as the iPad, but still beautiful, feels very natural in my hands, even without a case.  My Touchpad really flies.  Everything I ask from it runs blazingly fast….surfing the web, playing movies/music, running multiple apps all at once.  No technical glitches whatsoever.

My recommendation: when HP does put this next batch of Touchpads on sale (NYTimes tech blog says they will be sold at the same firesale prices), get one.  You will love the experience.  And, for the ridiculously low price of this state-of-the-art tablet, the Touchpad would make a killer gift for just about anyone who loves cool toys.

I think the HP Touchpad saga will redefine the future tablet market.  Tablets will come down in price.  Clearly, consumers will buy non-iPad tablets, with all of their densely-packed cool features, if the price is lower.  The question is, can the tech companies, like Motorola, Samsung, and HP, cost-effectively manufacture these tablets, and still make a profit that makes it worth their while?  We’ll see….the tablet market is still very much evolving.

chicknfood

I foresee something akin to the video game industry where hardware is sold, often at a loss at first to generate a platform for developers to sell games at a profit paying royalties to the parent company who eventually will generate profit on the platform. Aggressive pricing will accomplish this just as the iPhone used 2-year agreements to lower adoption cost to the new platform yet Apple rakes in plenty from the App Store (in addition to recouping the full cost of the phone courtesy of ATT).

mhikl

The question is, can the tech companies, like Motorola, Samsung, and HP, cost-effectively manufacture these tablets, and still make a profit that makes it worth their while??

No.

You can’t continue to lose $200~$250+ on a device that doesn’t offer any other assured income and stay in business very long. There is still the cost to research and updates and other supports. (When sold through Best Buy et. al., HP only gets half the sale price.)

I’d buy it for that price, though. It would be the cheapest ebook out there and I am sure you can add your own ebooks to it. I’d check first to see if Stanza ran on it. And it is larger than my iPod touch.

Bling? Since when were simplicity and elegance, ostentatious? Choice of vocab says a lot about intention

oh, and: Do you post under another alias on TMO?

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